Alaska Airlines eliminates class of service bonuses for partner airlines

You’ve gotta love Alaska Airlines. When they eliminate prayer cards in first class they send a page-long email signed by their Chairman/CEO and President, but when they substantially devalue their frequent flyer program they just update the wording on the website and pretend nothing changed.

Anyway, Alaska has a bunch of partners on which you can earn elite qualifying miles in the Mileage Plan program, and when you flew paid first or business class on many of them, you would earn 25-50% bonus miles, which were both elite qualifying and redeemable.

Now when you go to the page for their partner airline mileage accrual policies, there’s simply a little disclaimer as follows:

So now that 25-50% bonus only counts for redeemable miles and not elite qualifying miles, which is actually a pretty substantial devaluation. I know several people that do a lot of international first and business class travel and credit their miles to Alaska, and now that there are no bonuses for first and business class, I suspect they won’t do so anymore.

This is something to keep in mind for those that were planning on taking advantage of Mileage Plan’s double miles promotion for travel on Emirates using one of their awesome fares out of Colombo.

Alaska, there’s nothing wrong with making a change, but why on earth do you handle it this way? It’s ridiculous to make a change not only without advance notice, but also without a press release or explanation. Certainly not the “North of Expected” mantra you guys tout…

Comments

  1. @mark, how was this this taken from Delta’s playbook? Doesn’t Delta still give a 50% MQM bonus? In any case, sure makes me glad I switched loyalty to DL from AS this year.

  2. Agreed. With all of the cuts lately, I wonder what is next… The 1,000 miles booking bonus when using the BofA visa? The free change fee waiver for Golds+? MVP bonus miles going down to 25%? Eliminate Boardroom initiation fee waiver/discounts for elites?

    The devaluations have been noticeable that this thread was created [http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/alaska-airlines-mileage-plan/1263345-chip-chip-chip-where-its-going-south-expected.html]… Such a shame, because AS was truly a pioneer for a “regional” airline that manages to have a highly competitive frequent flyer program. Oh, remember the days when AS’s MileagePlan program dominated the Freddies [5 Program of the Year awards between 02-08]. Now they did a great job of tanking their program off of the map. What’s ironic, with all those devaluations, I always get an email from them begging me to vote for them. Tsk.

  3. I know several people that do a lot of international first and business class travel and credit their miles to Alaska, and now that there are no bonuses for first and business class, I suspect they won’t do so anymore.

    That saves money for partners, if EQMs cost more than RDMs (they generally do). It may be that Alaska’s partners asked them to do this.

  4. @ eponymous coward — So you think all of Alaska’s EQM accruing partners approached Alaska at once and requested that they no longer accrue EQMs on the class of service bonus? Highly unlikely. It seems much more likely that this cut was Alaska’s idea.

  5. Yeah, i noticed that which is why i decided against the CMB flights, plus the flight LHR-JFK was an AA codeshare operated by BA that did not appear eligible for AS miles at all.

    Now the bonus page on AS still lists the EQM bonuses for some of the partners, so not sure of the discrepancy. But bad news overall.

  6. So you think all of Alaska’s EQM accruing partners approached Alaska at once and requested that they no longer accrue EQMs on the class of service bonus? Highly unlikely. It seems much more likely that this cut was Alaska’s idea.

    No, but I could see it being a condition for Emirates, who got recently added, and Alaska not wanting to hack off other partners.

    This doesn’t really benefit Alaska at all- they’ll lose some people crediting miles to them, and pretty high value customers as well, people who are willing to shell out for C/F fares.

  7. “This is something to keep in mind for those that were planning on taking advantage of Mileage Plan’s double miles promotion for travel on Emirates using one of their awesome fares out of Colombo.”

    It’s probably shenanigans like this that led Alaska to make the change.

  8. @ Voice of reason — So Alaska Airlines changed their policy because of one cheap first class fare from a remote part of the world on an airline that’s not even their partner yet? And you call yourself the “Voice of reason?”

  9. @HikerT – changing things with no notice and applying them retroactively (i.e., no award changes within 72 hours, no combining vouchers, etc.)

  10. I’m a Gold, and doing the calculations after EQM partner flights in business class, I never saw those bonus miles applied towards my status, just RDMs. Isn’t this just clarifying the policy?

  11. @Eric, sometimes it posts with the EQM bonus and sometimes it does not. Alaska’s IT is not very sharp and this is one of many bugs in their system. If you have flown in paid business in the last few weeks [before the policy change] email MileagePlan and ask them to adjust your account to reflect the EQM bonus from those trips. If it was last year, I wouldn’t bother unless it would have bumped you to the next elite level.

  12. Oh, now Alaska is saying it is a miscommunication between loyalty marketing and the web team. COS bonuses will remain and nothing will change in that area. Now, they need to update their website to eliminate the exclusion. This is either one huge miscommunication or they were “testing” the water? Even if it was just a misunderstanding, how did that topic come up in the first place internally?

    Anyway, for now, thankfully, COS bonus EQMs will count towards to status!

  13. Missydarlin just updated a thread on Flyertalk that this information was posted in error; Alaska will continue to offer class of service eqms. See Flyertalk.

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